Monday, June 27, 2011

TBR: Icarus Helix Series by J.E. Medrick

I look forward to reading this series.  The Man Eating Bookworm has been praising these books on his blog and each one sounds even better than the last.  I was lucky enough to win a copy of the first book Cheat last week in a giveaway on his blog!

There are four books in the series so far:

Icarus Helix #1: Cheat

Book Description 
How far would you go for money? For Marcus Tiller, gambling debt was an overwhelming shadow on his life. As a neonatal attendant at St. Mercy Four Cities Hospital in need of cash, he became CGT-Inc's ideal pawn. The contract: secretly inject newborns with an experimental compound - for $1,000 a head. But, three years after he began, he disappeared.

Now, 14 years later, the effects of the compound are starting to show. 17-year old Ian Reynolds, an aspiring varsity football player, suddenly finds he can control things with the power of his thoughts. Footballs miraculously end up in his hands, girls' skirts catch sudden drafts and life is good. But the gift comes with a price, both physical and mental.

As Ian tries to understand his power, the big rivalry against the Waredo Firehawks looms. But when a stranger who may know his secret begins leaving him cryptic notes, will Ian decide his power is best left... undiscovered?
Icarus Helix #2: Liar

Book Description 
Marcus Tiller gambled away all of his money to the Bad Men. No sweat - they gave him more. But when his new bets went sour, he became desperate. He signed on with Icarus Consulting to inject newborns with an experimental compound.

Fourteen years later, Ellen discovers a startling ability - she can tell if people are lying. Not only that, but when they do, she can hear their true thoughts.

When a smooth-talking stranger hints at her powers, paranoia starts. Ellen finds herself drawn into best friend drama, tip-toeing around boys and fearing a divorce.

With the masks of people around her shattering, will Ellen learn to live with her power... or be struck down by it?
Icarus Helix #3: Coward

Book Description 

David West is a normal, nerdy boy. His parents are never home, he is small for his age and he can't get up the courage to get a girlfriend.

But when he accidentally absorbs a shower handle, he realizes he might not be so average, after all.

His freshman year heads quickly for disaster as he crosses paths with the football team.  Now with stress building and nowhere to turn, David's power may be his last road out of mediocrity.  At the moment of truth, will he decide it's easier to be brave... or wicked?


Icarus Helix #4: Thief 

Book Description 
Single parent household. One friend in the world. Father in jail for double homicide. Poor. Mute.

What would YOU do if you suddenly turned invisible?

15-year old Mason is dealing with just these problems. When he uncovers a crippling family secret that he blames on himself, he knows things need to change. He needs them to change. Not just for himself - but for his mother.

The ability to become a ghost just may be his answer...

Cheat is about to take a big skip up in the To Be Read list.  Stay tuned for some Icarus Helix reviews in the near future!

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Book Review: Pocket-47 by Jude Hardin

Book Description
Fifteen-year-old Brittney Ryan has taken to the streets. Leitha, her older sister and legal guardian, hires private investigator Nicholas Colt to find her and bring her home. Piece of cake, Colt thinks. With Brittney's forbidden boyfriend's address in hand, he plans to make a surprise visit and put this one in the scrapbook.But something more sinister is behind Brittney's disappearance, and Colt soon finds himself in an ever-widening maze of deceit, betrayal, and murder. When Colt learns what the mysterious phrase "Pocket-47" means, he is haunted even more by the plane crash that killed his family and rock band twenty years ago-a crash he now realizes might not have been an accident.Determined to save Brittney, Colt struggles to untangle the threads of his own tortured past. Unfortunately, one of the most heinous and violent criminals in modern history has other ideas.

Pocket-47 had a strong beginning.  I liked the story and the suspense.

At about the halfway point, I was left not caring about any of the characters.  Normally the story and the suspense of the situation can get me through a lack of character depth, but just after the halfway point, the story changed dramatically.  I had to struggle until the story and suspense of the second half caught up enough to hook me back in.

The reviews for Pocket-47 have been really high.  16 out of 19 reviews on Amazon are 5 star reviews.  The other three are 4 star reviews.  Publisher's Weekly gave it a starred review stating "Hardin gets everything right in his powerhouse thriller debut".

It's possible my expectations were simply too high.  I read Jude Hardin's Unborn recently (pseudonym Carson Wilder) and really enjoyed it.

Pocket-47 wasn't on target for me, but Jude Hardin is a great writer, and I look forward to his future books. 

Review copy provided by publisher

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Book Review: Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

Go the F**k to Sleep is awesome.  I couldn't love it more if I tried.

Book Description 
Go the Fuck to Sleep is a bedtime book for parents who live in the real world, where a few snoozing kitties and cutesy rhymes don't always send a toddler sailing blissfully off to dreamland. Profane, affectionate, and radically honest, California Book Award-winning author Adam Mansbach's verses perfectly capture the familiar--and unspoken--tribulations of putting your little angel down for the night. In the process, they open up a conversation about parenting, granting us permission to admit our frustrations, and laugh at their absurdity. 

With illustrations by Ricardo Cortes, Go the Fuck to Sleep is beautiful, subversive, and pants-wettingly funny--a book for parents new, old, and expectant. You probably should not read it to your children.
This book is hilarious.  It's written like a children's bedtime story, but it's for us parents that know all too well what it's like to beg our children to go the fuck to sleep.  (Maybe not out loud.)

As if the print book isn't hilarious enough, Samuel L. Jackson did an awesome job narrating the audiobook version.

Go the F**k to Sleep is going to be a standard addition to my baby shower gifts from now on.

Can you relate?

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Book Review: Cherry Beach Express by R. D. Cain

Book Description
When Steve Nastos is wrongfully accused of murdering his dentist—a man whom he believes committed an unspeakable crime against his daughter—he decides to take the law into his own hands.
Freed on bail, he attempts to track down the actual killer in a town where laws are seen more as guidelines and law enforcement agents adhere to their own moral relativism. Handicapped by a recovering alcoholic lawyer, a rogue cop, and a two-faced judge, Nastos has the cards stacked against him. 
As his estranged yet beloved wife inadvertently becomes involved in the case, the stakes become higher, and Nastos is forced to protect her.
What a week!  In the midst of craziness, I had one perfect escape - R.D. Cain's Cherry Beach Express.I expected to read a great mystery, but I got the added bonus of a great legal thriller, too.

Steve Nastos - a detective in the sexual assault unit - is on trial for murder.  At first I wondered if he did it - then I hoped he did do it.  I wanted Nastos to be guilty, but be found innocent. 

"Is everyone just one bad circumstance away from killing anyone else?" 

Cherry Beach Express makes a strong case for justifiable homicide.

In the end, I was happy with the outcome.  I'm not convinced that everything in Cherry Beach Express could really be pulled off, but like Marcia Clark, R.D. Cain gets instant credibility.  He has "worked for the last 18 years in emergency services as a paramedic, firefighter, and police officer".  His expertise comes through in his writing.

Cherry Beach Express should appeal to a wide audience.  There's mystery, suspense, court room drama, crime, shoot outs, car chases... It was a great read.

Review copy provided by publisher

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